Friday, April 25, 2014
Wimbush wows at Elite 11 regional
By Jeremy Crabtree and Gerry Hamilton
ASHBURN, Va. -- If there was an award given out for the most physically gifted quarterback at Friday’s Elite 11 regional camp at the Washington Redskins' practice facility, Brandon Wimbush would undoubtedly be a runaway winner.
The No. 107-ranked prospect in the ESPN 300 showed impressive arm power, a strong frame that can carry 225 pounds, and the feet and balance that have earned him offers from the likes of Penn State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Ohio State, LSU and a host of others. The news of the day Friday was the offer list might soon be growing, and one could be a game-changer.
“Michigan was at the school [Thursday],” Wimbush said. “I threw for Coach [Doug] Nussmeier, and he said that he has to go watch a couple of other kids throw and he will get back to me by next Wednesday. Stanford is going to come see me throw on Thursday, too.”
Wimbush admits that an offer from the Cardinal could be a game-changer.
Brandon Wimbush turned heads at the Washington D.C. Elite 11 regional on Friday.
“It would mean a lot,” he said. “It would mean a lot to anybody. Stanford is the best of both worlds,”
Up next for the talented signal-caller will be a trip to Ohio State.
“I’m actually taking a visit to Ohio State with my head coach in a couple of weeks,” he said. “I may go out to Stanford depending on how my session goes Thursday,”
While Penn State and Miami receive the most mention when speaking about top schools on Wimbush’s list, one team that can’t be slept on is Virginia Tech because of a strong relationship with offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler.
“I was there about a month ago,” Wimbush said. “It was a dull day, but the intensity in the dome was awesome. I got to sit with Coach [Scot] Loeffler and had a meeting with him. It was a great feeling overall. I was comfortable with him and the guys.”
Speaking of the Nittany Lions, the message from coach James Franklin is simple.
“Just to come in and compete with [incoming freshman Michael] O'Connor and see what happens,” Wimbush said. “Obviously, they have [Christian] Hackenberg there, and he’s a good one, but [Franklin] told me he wants me to come in and compete for time.”
The crop of 2016 quarterbacks on hand at the camp was impressive, to say the least. While Dwayne Haskins Jr. hasn’t received the praise of some of the others there, the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder walked away Friday having impressed the most. On the recruiting front, five programs have already offered, with more expected in the near future.
“First offer was SMU,” Haskins said. “My second offer was Arizona State, then Utah, Nebraska and Temple. I have interest from Clemson, Georgia, West Virginia, Boston College, LSU, Duke, North Carolina, Penn State, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan. I know Boston College is about to offer me, but I don’t know exactly when. Virginia Tech is also close.”
If there is one program that has the chance to jump to the front of the pack by offering, it’s the Big 10 runner-up.
“My first memory was Ohio State with Troy Smith versus Michigan,” he said. “That was definitely my first memory. Ohio State was my team growing up. I did love Ohio State when I was younger. An offer would mean a lot to me, but all offers mean a lot to me, too.”
Haskins definitely plans to camp at West Virginia and LSU. Florida State is working to get him down to Tallahassee for camp as well. Haskins’ cousin is Kevin Toliver II, the No. 3 overall prospect in the Class of 2015.
Elijah Robinson stepped on to the field Friday hoping to make a statement. He wanted to prove to folks he is worthy of the attention he’s already gotten and that he is a quarterback, not an athlete, as some schools have labeled him.
“It was definitely an opportunity,” he said. “That’s mainly why I came here. It’s an opportunity for other schools to see that I’m a quarterback. I like to play quarterback, and I can do it. I think I showed some folks today that I’m a quarterback, not an athlete. I hopefully passed the test. I think I did.”
Some schools already believe enough in Robinson’s abilities at the position. He’s earned scholarship offers from UMass, Michigan State, Nebraska, Rutgers and Temple. He said he hopes to earn more attention in the coming weeks of the spring evaluation period.
“Penn State is supposed to be coming up to see me throw soon,” said the 6-1, 180-pound Robinson. “Boston College and Ohio State are coming, too. I’m not really digging anybody now, and I appreciate all the schools that have offered me already. But there are a few schools I’m still waiting on: Penn State, Boston College and Ohio State, especially.”
Another top Class of 2016 prospect on hand Friday was Jarrett Guarantano. The 6-3, 190-pounder has six offers, with that number expected to grow in the next week.
“I have Tennessee that just recently offered,” he said. “[Friday], I have to call the Oklahoma coaches. Auburn is coming down to watch me throw on Tuesday. They said the offer is on the table, but they want to come watch me throw. I have Ohio State telling me that they want me to come shake Urban Meyer’s hand, and they will offer. Michigan said they want me to come to their one-day camp, and they are coming back next week to watch me throw.”
While Guarantano has made a number of unofficial visits, he’s looking forward to making a number of trips this summer.
“I want to get to Alabama for a day, and Ohio State, too,” he said. “I want to be around the coaching staffs for a day. I want to get back to Auburn and Clemson, too. They are probably my No. 1 or No. 2 with Tennessee. I loved Clemson when I went down there, I loved everything about it.”
Sometimes a prospect enters a camp like the Elite 11 with scholarship offers from smaller schools and gets overshadowed by more high-profile players. But then there are cases like Brandon Battle, who proved he fits right in with the best of the best despite having scholarship offers from only James Madison and Toledo. The 6-3, 180-pound Battle stood toe-to-toe with Wimbush, Haskins and other passers. Camp coaches complimented him on his arm strength, accuracy and ability to put the ball into tight spots. Battle said he hopes Friday’s performance helps put him even more on the recruiting radar.
Battle said he’s heard from all eight Ivy League schools, along with Rutgers, Boston College, Bucknell, Iowa, Kentucky, Temple, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. On Thursday, he said Maryland assistant Mike Locksley was at his school.
“He came to check me out,” Battle said. “A lot of coaches are coming through, and I’m hoping they like what they see.”